How to Get Started with Bitcoin in 2020
by Jason Nelson @dragonwolftech
I want to talk to you about Bitcoin. Precisely what it is, how to get it, and how to use it.
What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin was created in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto, designed to allow people the ability to send money peer-to-peer without a third party. All you need is a smartphone and someone willing to accept Bitcoin.
I first became involved with Bitcoin and the Bitcoin/Cryptocurrency community in 2016. Since that time, I have been a journalist and content creator covering Bitcoin and the Cryptocurrency market.
I want to tell you how you can buy your first Bitcoin and use it to make online purchases.
Buying Bitcoin is not as hard as you may think. You may have used CashApp in the past. Did you ever notice an icon that looked like a line going up?
If you click that icon, you go to an area of the app that allows you to invest—one option for Stocks, the other option for Bitcoin.
Despite what you may hear in the media, Bitcoin is becoming more popular every day. Sure, as an investment, but for people looking for ways to remove banks and government from their money.
You do not have to buy a “complete” Bitcoin to have and use Bitcoin. Bitcoin can be bought in smaller amounts, known as Satoshis. Think a penny vs a dollar. So, for example, you can buy $10.00 worth of Bitcoin.
Before you can move your Bitcoin from CashApp (and increasingly more exchanges) you will need to provide some personal information. This is known as a Know Your Customer, Anti Money Laundering policy.
One reason why CashApp is a popular option to buy Bitcoin, KYC is relatively easy to complete and you can be approved fairly quickly, depending on traffic on the app.
If you would like to try CashApp for yourself, use the following link to signup: CashApp
After you buy your Bitcoin, you’re going to need a place to store it.
You can choose a desktop, hardware, a mobile, or a paper wallet. Where you store your Bitcoin is as important as where you buy it.
1. A hardware wallet is a device that can be plugged into a computer and acts like a miniature bank vault. When you want to receive or send Bitcoin to the wallet, plug it into your computer. The wallet should have an interface or website associated with where you can perform the transfer.
2. A mobile wallet is on a mobile device like a cell phone, that allows a user to carry their Bitcoin with them.
3. A paper wallet is a piece of paper that has the information regarding the Bitcoin printed on it.
4. A desktop wallet is one that resides on your computer. Some mobile wallets sync between desktop and mobile.
All wallet types have their plus and minuses, and all should have the highest level of security possible. Choose a wallet that allows you to set a password and preferably one that has two-factor authentication. Most importantly, the wallet should give you access to your private keys.
What are private keys? At it’s most basic, private keys are what unlocks your Bitcoin wallet. Modern wallets tend not to show this information. The public and private key movements are done “under the hood.” But if you can access your private keys, write them down and store them in a safe place. Remember, not your keys, not your Bitcoin.
How to use Bitcoin
To use Bitcoin to make purchases, you need two things, a Bitcoin wallet address to enter or QR Code to scan.
Let’s say, for example, I wanted to purchase a book that was USD 10.00. From my mobile wallet, I would enter $10.00 into my Bitcoin wallet. The wallet would tell me the equivalent of Bitcoin needed and any additional fees that may apply. I would enter the Bitcoin address (it’s better to copy and paste) or scan the QR code given to me by the retailer.
After my wallet recognizes the address, I can send the requested amount of Bitcoin.
You will see a confirmation message the Bitcoin sent. After a few moments, the retailer should also confirm receipt. If you want, you can view the transaction on the Bitcoin Blockchain. And that’s it. Wait for your confirmation email from the website or print receipt from the retailer.
And you are done.
So as you can see, it is easy to buy and use Bitcoin. All you need is a way to get it and someone to accept it as payment.
Or you can hang on to it.
Is there a risk with Bitcoin? Of course, there are risks with any investment, but unlike stocks, you can use this investment to buy an airline ticket.
So, we looked at how to buy Bitcoin and how to use it. I’ve tried to keep the functionality of Bitcoin as simple as possible. Once you get into the Bitcoin space, you’ll find it’s a bottomless rabbit hole.
In closing, as we move further along into the future, people should and will continue to look into Bitcoin. Why should banks and governments have total control of the money?
People should be able to control their own money—the ability to make their own decisions regarding how best to safeguard and prepare for their future.
Nakamoto S. Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System. https://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf. Accessed March 18, 2020.
Bitcoin 101 – CoinDesk. CoinDesk. https://www.coindesk.com/learn/bitcoin-101/what-is-bitcoin. Published August 20, 2013. Accessed March 18, 2020.
Pay with Credit card, Paypal & Cryptocurrency | Travala.com. Travala.com. https://www.travala.com/payment-options. Published 2020. Accessed March 18, 2020.
How to get started with Cryptocurrency. Crypto Insights Journal. https://cryptoinsightsjournal.com/2017/10/31/number-6-how-to-get-started-with-cryptocurrency/. Published October 31, 2017. Accessed March 18, 2020.